Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Micronucleus Assay

  • Cholpon S. DjuzenovaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_3727-2


Measurement of micronucleus (MN) frequency in peripheral blood lymphocytes is extensively used in molecular epidemiology and cytogenetics to evaluate the presence and the extent of chromosomal damage in human populations exposed to genotoxic agents or bearing a susceptible genetic profile. MN is a small, extranuclear chromatin-containing structure in the cell cytoplasm surrounded by a membrane without any detectable link to the main nucleus.


Micronuclei (MNi) are expressed in dividing cells and they can occur spontaneously or as a result of chemical or radiation treatment. Additional parameters that can influence MN frequencies are inherited or acquired genetic polymorphisms in genes responsible for the metabolic activation of clastogens (agents causing chromosomal breaks) and for the fidelity of DNA repair/misrepair, DNA replication, and/or chromosome segregation. Concerning the induction mechanism, two types of MNi exist:
  1. 1.

    MNi that contain chromosome...


Genotoxic Agent Dicentric Chromosome Acentric Fragment Bloom Syndrome Main Nucleus 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Klinik für Strahlentherapie der Universität WürzburgWürzburgGermany